Today I would like to talk to you about one of my favourite games that I have come across this year. Thunderstone is a deck-building card game. Unlike Magic: The Gathering, you do not buy blind boosters to build your deck. When you purchase the core Thunderstone box you have every single card you will need.
An explanation on how the game works:
Each player receives the same starting deck of 12 cards: 6 militia, 2 iron rations, 2 torches and 2 daggers. This starting deck never changes from game to game.
There is a “Village” which is created from 12 cards types, 8 or which will be items, weapons, spells etc and 4 sets of heroes.
There is also the “Dungeon” which is made up of 3 sets of 10 monster cards and the Thunderstone card shuffled together. The top 3 monsters from this deck are drawn and set out on the table.
The first player starts by drawing 6 cards from their 12 card deck. They now have 3 options:
1. Go to the dungeon and fight one of the 3 monsters. Monsters have health values, heroes have attack values (which can be boosted by weapons/spells/etc) and you must equal or beat the monster health in order to defeat it. Something very important to consider is light. The deeper in the dungeon the monster dwells the more light you need. Light is generated from certain items, spells and even some heroes themselves! For every point of light you are missing when attacking a monster, their health increases by 2.
2. Go to the village and buy more cards for their deck. Most cards have a gold value in the top left corner. When going to the village you lay all your cards out, add up the total gold value and this is what you have to spend on new things. These get put in your discard pile and when you have no cards left to draw from your deck you shuffle your discard pile and start drawing from that again. As the game progresses you are adding more cards to you deck making you more powerful.
3. The final option is to rest. In this case you merely choose one of your cards to destroy from your hand and discard the rest. Destroying and discarding are 2 very different things. Destroying means this card can not be used again for the rest of the game, discarding merely means it is put in the discard pile and shuffled back into you deck later.
Each monster you defeat in the dungeon is worth a number of victory points, which are calculated when the game ends. The person with the most victory points wins.
These are the basics of the game, the real joy of it is the fact that every game is different. Which monster cards you fight and which village cards you are able to buy are randomised before you start playing. You take a look at the village to see what heroes and items are available and you try to work out good combos you can devise using their individual attributes. One hero has the ability to double any magic attacks you do in the dungeon, while another can wield as many weapons as he pleases. You do have to balance your shopping trips with your dungeon trips however, because it doesnt matter how well you have built your deck over the turns if someone has ended up defeating more monsters than you.
There are about 4 expansions out for Thunderstone currently, each one adding more heroes, monsters and village cards, aswell as things like traps and treasures, which increases the excitement of the game.
I’m sure I will talk more about Thunderstone in a future post so keep your eye peeled!